Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The All Seeing, All Knowing...
(In my dreams!)

It's time for new year's resolutions (which we all do for ourselves) and predictions for the upcoming new year. This is when I go into a trance and channel what the future holds. I predict the following will occur in 2009.

1. The ACA will return my phone call (message left 10 days ago)

2. I will lose that annoying belly fat I've been working on.
3. NDK boats will have a 100% quality control year with no failures.

4. Vicki and Leslie (local gals) will paddle during the winter and in 10-foot waves.

5. Derrick will have 1 blog with no spelling errors.
6. Steve will leave his practice and go into producing kayak videos (Kibbitz, inc.).

7. J B will be indicted by the Dept. of Commerce for destroying the economy by hogging all the jobs.

8. Gary, our local guru and racer will be told by his lovely wife, Sharon, "Enough boats already."

9. Wendy Killoran will start up a new blog.
10. DaveO will swear off beer and move into a 1 bedroom condominium.
11. Ron will start spending winters in Florida.
12. Michael will move to Greenland, be granted Inuit citizenship and teach history.
13. Stan will, for the first time, actually post a blog with a bad picture.
14. Canoe lover will sell Rutabaga, give away all his worldly possessions and wander the globe teaching philosophy, cooking and snow shoe repair.
15. Nancy will give all the kayak instructors at Rutabaga an unbelievably huge raise.

16. Alex will swear off kayaks and become a stay at home husband.
17. Suzette will post beautiful pictures...every day.
18. All recreational paddlers will dress for conditions and stay offf the big waters.
19. Local paddlers, Doug and Greg, will form a stand up comedy team and go on the road.
20. Every last paddler in the world will...

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Year,
Same Old,
Same Old
I've seen a lot of years come and go and have learned that they are all different and all alike. They all start with great expectations and end with some accomplishments and as many failures. There has never been a time in my life when there has not been at least a dozen wars going on. I cannot recall a time when some of the world's population wasn't being terrified by some despot leader or slaughtered by some group with vague political objections.
Every year has seen new and miraculous discoveries, many of them beneficial to mankind, some of a highly destructive nature. On the brink of growing human organs that will save lives we also stand at the doorway to remote controlled wars and "better" nuclear weapons. Every year sees corrupt politicians shaming themselves and their sacred trust. And here, in America, I see ideologues on both sides unable to think or logic clearly as they spout their party's line, no matter how insane it might be. Forget about consistency.

I live in a world where people run into burning buildings to save a child while others abduct and abuse them. I live in a world where our divisions along political and even religious lines crowds out the possibility of peace seeping in. I watch the children of my country grow obese with little hope of out living their parents while I see foreign news photos of starving children covered with flies.
All my life I've watched green spaces disappear while more and more crap appears on the rivers and lakes.

Soon we will begin a new year, an arbitrary division of time that allows us to believe that things will get better. For some, it is a time of new beginnings. That's fine, if they do something to make it happen . For me, it is the annual reminder to sit with myself and ask what it is I have done that has made a positive difference, however small, in this world. Have I made a single life better, happier, healthier? Have I alleviated or eased some one's suffering or taught a youngster a valuable life lesson? Have I been in integrity with friends and family? What do I wish I wouldn't have done, and what will I do next time in the same situation? And so on. In reality, this is a thought process that I go through constantly, not just when the planets tell me it is a "new year".

New year's resolutions are often short lived. They can be feel-good thoughts used to erase or avoid looking at what hasn't been working in our lives, in our world. Maybe it is time to try something different. Sermon over. Next post will, I promise, be less droll and more uplifting.

Paddle safe...


Monday, December 29, 2008

There used to be a yogurt commercial that showed elderly folks in different cultures eating yogurt. The claim, of course, was that eating the stuff was why they were living to such ripe old ages. I think that may be both simplistic and misleading.

When studies are done from the other direction one gets a different answer. That is, if we start with cultures where folks live a long time and work backwards, we get a hint of why they live so long. To begin, they don't eat the way we do. They tend to eat things as they appear in nature. They do not have processed meats and chemical laden foods. They get lots of veggies and grains.

Next, they tend to do a lot of physical work. Life is a bit harder without an electric can opener, but having to just walk everywhere and carry your own load seems to be good for one's body.

Thirdly, and I suspect most importantly, the old are venerated. Several generations live together in a house, tent or yurt. They consider the old folks to be treasures whose advise and wisdom is sought out by others. In such a society, I suspect, one can look forward (rather than dread) growing old. Unlike our modern cultures, there is no fear of being ware housed and isolated from everything you know and love.
In our sweat lodges we address the hot stones as "Grandfather" (or "Grandmother") because of their age. While that may seem silly to some, it is a show of deference to nature and what and who has gone before us. It is a show of respect for something ancient.

If our attitude toward old age and old people is to change it will happen by example. It will happen when we model for our young people respectful treatment of the elderly in our families and societies. When that happens, all of life will be more worth living.

Paddle safe...


Friday, December 26, 2008

Safe Harbors

It looks as if we are in for a warming spell for the next few days. We will have some rain and sleet before temps rise to near 40F. Hopefully, some of the ice along the shores of Lake Michigan will relent and allow us a safe launching area. The ice flows, shifting as they do, often deny us a safe harbor upon our return to the launch sites.

It will be quite a while until we can explore the rivers. In fact, I suspect they will flood over the next few days, especially if there is a melt off up north. Meanwhile, there are the pool sessions. I hope to make the one this Sunday. I have a bit of trepidation about it. It will be my first time in a boat since my hernia repair. I was going to take my SOF but worry about working my way in and out of such a tight fit. Hopefully, I will get my Romany out into the rain for a good cleaning. Right now it has a good deal of plant material on its deck lines from playing in the surf.I hope you all got the gifts you wished for. New years eve fast approaches, and will be time to lift a glass and say all sorts of silly stuff about what happened this year and what we wish for the next. But that's another matter. Meanwhile,

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"It's A Wonderful Life"
That, of course, is the name of a radio play that often gets aired this time of year. Basically, it is about a man named George who feels his life is falling apart (the details are not important). He meets up with an angel (who is working on getting his wings) and tells this angel that he (George)wishes he had never been born. The angel then shows George how the world would be if he really had never been born. Think about that. Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if you had never been born? I have.
I would never have met Lady Linda.
Because of that, I would never have had two wonderful daughters.Or a grandson.
Or two wonderful sons in law and a
wonderful puppy. I never would have wandered into Rutabagas and met JB and gotten into kayaking and met all the wonderful folks I now count among my friends.
I would never have become a physician and had the privilege of working with so many wonderful people and experiencing the incredibly humbling experience of saving a human life. I would never have never been a jazz musician and known the meditative-like spell of being lost in a world of sound. And, I would never have picked up a camera and learned to see all the beauty in the world around me.
So, I live and laugh and love and thoroughly enjoy this wonderful life that has been given to me, and my wish is that each of you will Cherish the good things in your matter what your circumstances. The secular year draws to an end. Various religions are celebrating their miracles. There is a sense of renewal in the air. Now is the time to live.


Paddle safe...


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

As The Year...Part II
(Yes, Capt,. there is a coffee mug...see comment on yesterday's post)
This past paddling season allowed for lots of paddling, teaching and the like.

Canoecopia was another big success, and

Sam gave a great presentation. Unfortunately,

(DaveO...Lake is Boss; Derrick the Quixotic; What's his name; Olson, paddle the twin cities)

security was lax, and shiftless bloggers wandered in.

Joe learned to walk and took his parents to Disney.

Gryphon (a Mayoleth issue) worked out at Grand Marais.

Gary Simon took delivery of his 437th boat, a Nemo.

Doug continued to run his still (yet to be found by the Feds), and

JB continued to paddle, teach kayaking, teach wilderness first aid, do his regular job, do his EMT-ambulance gig and

Nydia refused to paddle on Lake Michigan, and, yes, Capt.,

we drank lots of coffee.

Paddle safe...


Monday, December 22, 2008

As The Year Draws
To An End
I get nostalgic and lazy, and I like to think back over the past year to see what actually happened.
1 year ago Joe paid us a visit. During 2008
JB screwed around with video equipment. His best shot? Me pearling into icy water. So, I got away to Arizona.

Greg spent a lot of time in his basement. Every time he came out the sun was shining and he saw his shadow.
It was one of our harder winters (like this one might be).
Canoecopia helped break things up (as I hope it will this winter).

Yet, we managed to be continued

Paddle safe...


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Note to Milwaukee Sea Kayak Group

The chill factor is -25F. We will not be paddling today but will meet at Leslie's and reenact this 2007 photo.

Paddle safe...


Friday, December 19, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy
Some how I find myself running around doing busy work although the city was shut down by snow for a half day. I realize that a lot of this "running around" is going on in my head, even when I was out there snow blowing. This recovering from minor surgery and having mild but constant discomfort has dulled my sense of time. Enough.

Tomorrow I hope to attend a sweat lodge then go to the pool in the evening and watch. I am not yet cleared to submerse my incision. Perhaps there will be photographic opportunities. I do feel badly that I have not been producing new images for this site and have been rehashing old stuff. Time to get back into the game.

Good news: I have two teaching positions for the upcoming semester. One at my Alma Mater, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee where I will teach a course in the College of Health Sciences (Pathophysioloical Fundamentals) and another at a small local college (Anatomy and Physiology). That, along with lectures scheduled in Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco and New York should keep me occupied. Besides, there will be Canoecopia in a few months, and then spring is just over the horizon along with the two symposiums I hope to staff.

The weather is expected to be brutal over the next several days, and I have to be careful to keep myself occupied with good projects indoors. Hope all you are well and gearing up for a great holiday.

Paddle safe...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just For Steve
Steve's comment on yesterday's post reminded me that there are folks a lot closer to the equator who can pretty much kayak every day of the year. Heat and lightening may be their only detractors. Here, higher on the globe, we have a phenomena called winter which, as it turns out, is a climate most like that experienced by the Inuit who gifted us with this sport. So, for that reason, plus the fact I am still in pain, bored and lazy from the minor surgery, I thought I would just comb the files for old snow-kayak images and share them (before we get an expected 10 inches of snow tonight).
First, Steve, you have to get your boat on the car. You do realize that all this snow has to be shoveled, plowed or blown off the drive ways and streets or no one goes any where? Perhaps we could ship it to you and help solve Israel's fresh water problems.
Next, you must dress in unique fashions.
Once on the water you will encounter ice flows, some with sharp edges. These may float about in the wind and close off your landing (launching) site when you return. So you land as best you can.

Finally, refreshed and cheered by a day on the water, one drags themselves home to drink heavily until the short cold days of winter give way to another spring season. Still like the snow, Steve?

Paddle Safe...